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Month: December 2015

Clayton’s Box Top Roasted Garlic Lasagna

Clayton’s Box Top Roasted Garlic Lasagna

Box top roasted garlic lasagna is such a lovely way to make a dinner or two in advance, particularly around the busy holiday season.  My husband, Clayton, has been making this box top roasted garlic lasagna for many years now: the box top refers to the recipe he discovered on a box of lasagna noodles when he was a young man and watching his grandmother make a very different lasagna recipe (ground beef, tomato sauce, and no ricotta cheese).  Clay decided the box top recipe sounded better and has been making it ever since.I’ve come to lasagna later in life.  I recall my grandmother making lasagna as well, and am pretty sure she used ground beef, adding dried spices, like garlic and onion powder, as well as fennel seeds.  When I was growing up, fennel seeds were an off-putting flavor for me, and I hated the texture of ground beef, so this definitely wasn’t a favorite dish.  It’s funny how tastes change as we get older, though, as I now love the taste of fennel, particularly in Italian sausage.  I’m still not a fan of the texture of ground beef, though.  Of course, using home made tomato sauce has been a game changer for me for all kinds of pasta with tomato sauce recipes, including the box top roasted garlic lasagna.  I love the way that tomatoes essentially hold their flavor when they are home canned.  My tomato sauce always gives me hope when I start lamenting that we aren’t ever going to see the sun again.

Clayton made these lasagnas on Christmas. The intention was to have lasagna on Christmas and then finish off the leftovers the day after, which worked out really well. It also gave me a nice break from the whirlwind of cooking I’ve been doing. So far the list of winter break cooking has been chicken tikka masala, garlic naan (twice), marshmallows, biscotti, chocolate croissants, almond paste, almond croissants, French dip (including homemade Hoagie rolls), Meyer lemon jam, and fruit salad. This might have been why lasagna for two nights suddenly sounded really good when we were doing our menu planning.

The recipe takes a bit of prep time, but is fairly simple to assemble. I usually roast the garlic the day before, which give the garlic plenty of time to cool and makes it easy to pop out of the garlic peels.  To make it a complete meal, serve it with a green salad and a few slices of garlic bread.

box top roasted garlic lasagna

Clayton’s Box Top Roasted Garlic Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 box dried lasagna noodles
  • ½ package of a ball of mozzarella cheese, sliced into thin slices
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • Meat and Sauce Layer
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic head, roasted*
  • 1 pound of Italian sausage (frozen works fine in this recipe)
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes (I used 2 16 ounce jars from my canning stash)
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Cheese Layer
  • 1 15 ounce tub of ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • A few grinds of black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Start by making the sauce. In a saucepan, sauté the diced onions in the olive oil and butter until they are slightly browned. Add in the diced tomatoes, roasted garlic, sausage, Italian seasonings, red wine and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for an hour. At the end of an hour, if the sausage is still very chunky, you can use an immersion blender to break up the sausage into smaller pieces. Add the cornstarch to thicken the sauce and stir thoroughly.
  3. About 50 minutes into the sauce simmering, boil water for the lasagna noodles in a large pot. When the water boils, add the lasagna noodles and cook for 6 minutes. The noodles will be al dente, but will cook more while the lasagna bakes.   Drain the noodles.
  4. Prepare the cheese layer by combining the ricotta cheese, ½ cup of the parmesan cheese, ¼ cup of grated mozzarella, Italian seasonings and black pepper in a bowl.
  5. Assembling the Lasagna
  6. I used two 9 x 7 inch glass pans for the lasagnas. These have the advantage of having lids, so they are great for freezing leftovers.
  7. Prepare the first pan. Ladle about a ½ cup of sauce as the base. This will help prevent the noodles from sticking during baking. Layer a single layer of noodles next. Ladle another ½ cup of sauce. Layer another single layer of noodles. Dollops half the cheese mixture next and then spread it gently over the noodles. Layer another single layer of noodles. Ladle another ½ cup of sauce, and then another single layer of noodles and then a final ½ cup of sauce. Finish by layer half of the sliced mozzarella cheese over the top and sprinkle ¼ cup of the remaining parmesan cheese on top of that.
  8. Use the remaining ingredients to assemble the second lasagna.
  9. If you are baking one or more of the lasagnas right away, bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes.
  10. If you are freezing, do not bake. Leave the lasagna to cool and then cover and freeze. Bake as instructed below when you are ready to cook your lasagna.
  11. Frozen lasagnas will take closer to an hour at 350 degrees. If the cheese or noodles start to brown, cover with foil and finish baking.
  12. *To roast garlic, cut the top 1/8th or so off a head of garlic, exposing the garlic cloves. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the garlic and wrap it up in foil. Bake for about an hour at 350 degrees. Let cool – this can be refrigerated overnight for easy peeling the next day.
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This post is linked to the Saucy Saturday #75 Linky Party.  For more wonderful holiday recipes, check out the hosts’ sites:

Take Two Tapas, La Petit Chef, Mid-Life Croissant and The Flavor Bender

Winter Fruit Salad

Winter Fruit Salad

 

One of my fondest memories from my childhood is a fruit salad my grandma made for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. The salad was a simple combination of canned fruit cocktail and mini-marshmallows. The salad was super sweet and the marshmallows would marinate in the fruit cocktail syrup and become soft and foamy. I particularly loved the combination of maraschino cherries and marshmallows and would pick these out first.

My grandma, sadly, passed away several years ago, and it’s been a long time since I last had fruit cocktail and marshmallows. My diet, habits and tastes have changed fairly radically since I was a child, and though there is a very strong nostalgia factor for this salad, it’s not something I’ve ever made for myself.

As I thought about what kinds of culinary experimentation I wanted to do this holiday break, I thought about my grandma’s salad, and started wondering if there was a way to replicate some of the flavor, but in a way that favored non-processed, less sugary fruit over the fruit cocktail. I won’t lie and say this version is perfectly healthy (the marshmallows have corn syrup in them) but it is a lightened up, less sugared version. Here’s a testament to how lightened up: as I was taking pictures this afternoon, Clayton, who isn’t a big fan of lots of sugar, hovered around the kitchen, waiting to eat what I was photographing. I’d say that’s a win!

fruitsalad1

A quick note about the marshmallows and the cherries: the marshmallows are made from a recipe that creates a very small batch. I’ve done further research and have encountered many recipes for marshmallows that don’t require corn syrup, so next go around, I’ll likely use one of those and adapt it for a smaller batch. I also used my hand mixer, and discovered why these are easier to make in a stand mixer. The marshmallow cream was incredibly sticky – I highly recommend using a neutral oil and oiling any utensil you might use to maneuver the marshmallow fluff (including your hands – trust me – I had a moment last night where I thought I might be stuck to the counter top for good).

As far as the cherries go, I suggest using some sort of preserved cherry. I happened to have a can of homemade maraschino cherries floating around the pantry from last summer. I absolutely used to love maraschino cherries that come from the grocery store, until I learned how they are produced. If you don’t know and would like to stay in a state of ignorant bliss, I encourage you not to dig too deeply on this topic. I would think that thawed out frozen cherries could work as well.

fruitsalad6

Winter Fruit Salad

Makes four servings

1 apple
1 Cara Cara orange (blood oranges, tangerines, or other citrus would work fine)
1 pear
10 – 15 cherries (I used homemade canned maraschino cherries, but I think fresh would be equally good)
5 – 6 homemade marshmallows (Recipe link here), cut into smaller, mini-marshmallow size pieces

Dice the apple and pear. Peel the Cara Cara orange and segment, cutting segments into smaller pieces. Slice the cherries in half. Combine all the fruit and then add the mini-marshmallows and stir. If not served immediately, the apple and pear will brown a bit, but this doesn’t significantly impact the taste.

ornaments

Happy Holidays!

Jamtini Time!

Jamtini Time!

We have had nothing but rain for days and days in the PNW.  I think that may be why I find citrus so appealing this time of year.  It’s a promise of warm, sunny days and hope that getting through the shortest day of the year will lead yet again to enough sunshine to be able to actually walk the dog.

I have a few Meyer lemons left from our last grocery shopping trip.  I also have a good stash of canned goods from spring and summer.  As we round out the old year and head into the new, I become increasingly desperate to use up the canned goods and make way for the time, not so far away, when strawberries and asparagus are back in season and the whole cycle of putting up for the cold short days of December starts all over again.  Using canned goods in cocktails is one way to go, especially when I have a half can of strawberry lavender caramel syrup to use up.

This is a fairly straightforward recipe – if you don’t happen to have strawberry lavender caramel syrup in the pantry, I’m pretty sure that this would be tasty with strawberry preserves.  If you might be inclined to preserve strawberries this spring, check out the recipe for the syrup at one of my all time favorite blogs: Food in Jars (Recipe link here).

jamtini3

Meyer Lemon Jamtini

Serves One

2 ounces vodka
Juice of one Meyer lemon
1 ounce strawberry lavender caramel syrup (or strawberry preserves)

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Serve in a martini glass with maraschino cherries, if so inclined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gingerbread Granola

Gingerbread Granola

I typically make a large batch of granola every other week or so – largely because, though I am always on the search for something for lunch that’s interesting, breakfast throughout the week is one of two things: yogurt and granola or overnight oats. Once upon a time, I used to buy granola, but then realized how much sugar commercially produced granola has in it. Making my own allows me to adjust the amount of sugar, as well as experiment with the kinds of sweeteners I use.

granola

This week’s granola features ginger and pumpkin pie spices, since it is the holidays, after all. It’s got small chunks of candied ginger in it, along with hazelnuts and almonds. I also throw in a bit of uncooked quinoa for some added crunch – feel free to omit if you don’t have this readily on hand.

granola3

Gingerbread Granola

Serves 8 – 10

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not the quick or instant kind)
¼ cup uncooked quinoa
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup molasses
½ cup olive oil or coconut oil
½ cup nuts, roughly chopped (I used a combination of hazelnuts and almonds)
6 – 8 chunks of candied ginger, chopped

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Combine oats, quinoa, spices, and nuts in a bowl and stir. Stir in the maple syrup, molasses, and oil until all the dry ingredients are coated.

Spread out the oat mixture on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Cook for 10 minutes at a time, stirring every 10 minutes, for a total of 30 minutes. Let the granola cool. Stir in the candied ginger as you break up the granola and prepare it for storage. I usually keep my granola in an airtight jar in the pantry for several weeks.

Winter Fruit Sangria

Winter Fruit Sangria

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this is my favorite time of the year. I’m a fan of sparkly decorations, glittery lights, and everything that a winter wonderland entails. And of course, holiday food, especially when I’m on break from work and have time to experiment in the kitchen (while listening to Pink Martini, Diana Krall, and Nat King Cole’s holiday albums, of course).

Sangria is one of my favorite drinks to make, as it showcases seasonal fruit so well. My local little quirky grocery store stocks kumquats this time of year, so I’m sure to do my best to get my fill. The persimmons grow happily here in my region of the PNW and I had several that had been hanging out from the farmer’s market since Thanksgiving. These are Fuyu persimmons – so can be eaten safely before they are entirely ripe (Hachiya are the other common type of persimmon and are very, very astringent if they aren’t ripe).   I also used a bit of the kumquat simple syrup from last week to sweeten the sangria.

winter sangria

 

Winter Sangria

Winter Fruit Sangria

1 bottle of red wine (I used a red wine blend from California. I also like to use a fruity Zinfandel or even a Cabernet for sangria)
1/4 cup Brandy
1/8 cup Kumquat simple syrup
1 Fuyu persimmon, sliced
1 Meyer lemon, sliced
½ cup whole cranberries
½ cup whole kumquats
¼ cup pomegranate seeds

Combine ingredients in a pitcher or a quart Mason jar. I usually use a Mason jar, which won’t be large enough for all the wine, and just add the remaining wine after I’ve poured my first glass. Stir and chill. If you are patient enough, it’s best to let the sangria hang out for a while in the fridge – four or so hours lets the flavors develop.

Serve with a bit (or a lot) of the fruit.

Midwinter Delicata Squash and Greens Salad

Midwinter Delicata Squash and Greens Salad

My lunch this week was all about the squash: butternut squash ravioli, butternut squash and chocolate chip muffins (link here), and Delicata squash salad.

The Delicata squash was from my autumn stash. I came to love Delicata even more than other winter squash when I learned it could be eaten peel and all.   It requires minimal effort to cook – just slice, de-seed and roast with a bit of olive oil.   Delicata is also incredibly photogenic, as demonstrated here:

delicatabeauty

And here:

delicatarings

The Delicata squash rings for the salad went into the oven at 350 degrees, were drizzled with a little olive oil, and cooked about 20 minutes. I flipped them over half way through.

This salad includes cranberries, a seasonal fruit that I don’t often see included raw; however, sliced thinly, these give the salad a lovely tart and crisp bite.

Midwinter Delicata Squash Salad

Midwinter Delicata Squash and Greens Salad

Serves 1 – but could easily be adapted for multiple hungry salad lovers

1 good handful salad greens or spinach
About 6 cranberries, sliced
About 8 hazelnuts
2 or 3 roasted Delicata squash rings
Pinch of salt
A few grinds of black pepper
1 or 2 tablespoons Champagne Vinegar Dressing (below)

Place greens on a plate or in a bowl and layer the cranberries, hazelnuts and squash on top. Drizzle with dressing and salt and pepper to taste.

Champagne Vinegar Dressing

¼ Champagne Vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
Pinch of salt and a pinch of fresh ground pepper

Put all ingredients in a small jar, cover with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously.

Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli (the Easy Way)

Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli (the Easy Way)

I have a serious love for all things pasta. I’m particularly fond of, and especially for lunch, ravioli. However, fancy organic raviolis are too expensive and don’t resolve the other problem – my serious love for all winter squash. I’ll confess – I’m a winter-squash-hoarder and one of our local u-pick farms completely enables me with their bins full of beautiful butternut, acorn, kabocha and delicata squashes (and pie pumpkins, and about a half-dozen other lovely squashes). I tend to buy up quite a few in October and let them hang out (lurk) in the back of the pantry until December or so. Somehow, this year, I managed only to buy a single butternut squash, a few delicatas and two pie pumpkins. While it may have been a more realistic haul, I really am sorry I don’t have a kabocha or two threatening to go off in the back of the pantry (and grow some bizarre strain of green mold that eventually gains sentient and chases the dog – but I digress).

This is a long way around to say that I used the butternut squash this weekend to make super lazy ravioli. By super lazy, I mean I didn’t strain myself to hand roll pasta, which I have been known to do, and used wonton wrappers instead.

I cooked up six ravioli for my Monday lunch and coated them with the brown butter sauce and parmesan cheese. They then hung out on the counter to cool and went into the fridge overnight. They microwaved beautifully, though do note that the ravioli tend to stick together when they’ve rested overnight. I’m too lazy to make brown butter sauce each and every day of the week, so my ravioli on Tuesday will be coated with some of the greens pesto I froze from last week.

ravioli2

Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli the Easy Way

Serves 4

1 cup roasted butternut squash
2 tablespoons crushed hazelnuts (I put them in a plastic bag and smack the hell out of them with a rolling pin – it’s a great stress reliever!)
¼ cup goat cheese
¼ cup parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
pinch or two of freshly ground black pepper
40 wonton wrappers

Start by roasting the butternut squash. The easiest way to do this is to whack off the stem and put the whole squash in a dish and throw it in a 350 degree oven for around an hour (this will depend on the size of your squash). Once you can easily poke a knife through it, let it thoroughly cool. I noticed no adverse effect when I left it in the fridge overnight.

When you split open the squash, you can easily remove seeds and remove the flesh from the skin. One butternut squash makes more than enough roasted squash for several recipes – I got about three cups out of this one. Butternut squash freezes well and is great as a substitute for pumpkin in breads and muffins.

Mix the squash, goat cheese, parmesan cheese, hazelnuts, nutmeg, salt, and pepper together. I don’t bother pureeing the squash – it’s easy to mash in the mixing process.

Lay the wonton wrappers out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I ended up needing a cookie sheet and a plate; the wonton wrappers shouldn’t overlap, so you may even want to use two cookie sheets. Dollop a scant tablespoon of the squash mixture in the middle of each wonton wrapper.

raviolibeingstuffed

Fill a small bowl with water. Dip your finger in the water and dampen the edges of your first wonton wrapper. Lay a second wrapper on top and press on the sides to seal. Repeat with the remaining wrappers.

raviolistuffed

You can cook your ravioli at this stage, by dropping the ravioli into a pot of boiling water and cooking for 3 minutes (the ravioli will puff a little and start to float – just like pasta-based ravioli). You can also freeze the ravioli. If you are going to freeze these, definitely give them a little space on the cookie sheet. If they are too close together and freeze, it can be difficult to break them apart without damage to the wonton wrappers. I like to freeze them and then package them in servings of around 5 or 6 ravioli – it’s a great serving size for lunch.

Hazelnut and Brown Butter Sauce

Serves 1 (but could definitely serve more – just use more butter)

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon crushed hazelnuts

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stirring fairly regularly, cook until the butter starts to brown and turn fragrant. Put the hazelnuts in and let them toast a bit – keep stirring, as you don’t want the butter or the hazelnuts to burn. Pour over the ravioli and top with parmesan cheese.

Kumquat Meyer Lemon Martini

Kumquat Meyer Lemon Martini

This kumquat Meyer lemon martini is perfect for the holidays.  Christmas is hands down my favorite time of year. All the sparkly lights and all the wonderful foods. It’s also usually the time of year when I have an extended period of time off of work and plenty of time to experiment with new recipes and food stuffs. It’s also a great time of year for a sparkly cocktail. That and all the lovely citrus starts showing up in the grocery stores here in the PNW. This little cocktail has a bit of it all: some sparkle, two types of citrus, and a photogenic presence.

I’m especially fond of kumquats this time of year.  These bitty citrus look like an elongated mini-orange (and we know how I feel about mini everything!).  Kumquats are pretty versatile – they can be eaten as a snack whole, peel and all, as well as salt-preserved (these were the first citrus I ever preserved using the salt technique), candied, and infused in a simple syrup for cocktails, like this one.  The kumquats add a nice sweetness to the otherwise sweet/sour of the Meyer lemons.

Kumquat Meyer Lemon Martini

Kumquat Meyer Lemon Martini

Kumquat Meyer Lemon Martini

Ingredients

    Kumquat Meyer Lemon Martini
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces Meyer lemon juice
  • ½ ounce kumquat simple syrup (recipe follows)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • zest from one Meyer lemon
  • 1 or 2 sliced kumquats for garnish
  • Kumquat Simple Syrup
  • 6 kumquats, sliced
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water

Instructions

    For the Kumquat Meyer Lemon Martini
  1. Combine the vodka, lemon juice, and kumquat syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Combine the sugar and zest of the Meyer lemon in a shallow dish. Dampen the rim of your martini glass with a bit of water and then dip the rim in the sugar/lemon mixture. Pour the martini into the prepared glass and garnish with the sliced kumquats.
  2. For the kumquat simple syrup
  3. Combine the kumquats, sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Stir occasionally and cook for five or so minutes, pushing on the kumquat slices to release juice. Pour syrup (kumquats included) into a small jar and cool. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for a few days.
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Soup and Salad

Soup and Salad

I’m a little out of order this first week of blog-hood.  Normally, I’ll post a “what lunch looks like this week” post early in the week with a recipe following a day or so later, and then a salad recipe, and then some other stuff later in the week (this will sometimes include a cocktail, because by Friday, I’m usually in need).  However, I decided yesterday I just needed to dive in and start posting.

So today, here are some photos of one of my favorite lunch combos on a dreary, rainy, Pacific Northwest kind of day: soup and salad.

But first, here’s proof it’s dreary:

so_rainy

And here’s the remedy:

potato_leek_soup easysalad

The soup refused to be particularly photogenic.  I promise, however, it is the best potato and leek soup on the planet.  Best yet, it’s not fussy, takes almost no time to make and is so creamy.   You can find the recipe at this link at  Erren’s Kitchen.  The salad is one of those where I had spent too much time making mac and cheese and pesto and trying my hand at macaron madness (that’s a whole other blog post – coming soon), that by the time I was getting myself ready for the week on  Sunday, I grabbed spinach greens, mixed olives in an herbed brine, and roasted, lightly pickled red peppers from this summer’s canning and topped it with feta cheese and a little bit of the olive brine and called it  salad.

Whatever this afternoon decides to throw at me, at least I had a soup and salad.

Mac and Cheese and Pesto

Mac and Cheese and Pesto

mac_and_cheese_and_pesto

Here of late, I have been craving comfort food.  Particularly at lunch time, I want a cozy pasta, soup, a salad.  Macaroni and cheese definitely fits the definition of comfort, and everything is better with pesto – thus, this very seasonal pesto was born.

Pesto Macaroni and Cheese
Serves 4

Walnut and Greens Pesto
2 cups spinach
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves torn into smaller pieces (I used curly leaf kale, but other kale types would work fine, too).
1 cup walnuts
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil

Put spinach, kale, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and salt in a food processor. Run the processor for a few minutes, until most of the ingredients are broken down. While running the processor, stream in the olive oil and lemon juice and process until you have a paste.

You could certainly add more garlic to this – but since this is for a work lunch, I try to be sensitive to my co-workers. This will also make much more pesto than is needed for the mac and cheese, so if you want less, half the ingredients. Alternatively, this pesto freezes like a dream. I freeze individual pesto blocks in an ice-cube tray and then throw them in with pasta for a quick and easy lunch.

pesto

Pesto Macaroni and Cheese

2 cups dried pasta (I used gemelli, but you could use other shapes, as well)
5 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt to taste
2 cups grated cheese (I used 1 cup Asiago and 1 cup cheddar. Other cheeses would do fine here).
½ cup walnut and greens pesto
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup Asiago or Parmesan cheese, grated

Boil water for the pasta in a saucepan. Once water is boiling, add the dried pasta. The Gemelli cooked for about 10 minutes to get to an al dente stage. Whatever pasta you are using, cook until just al dente. Any longer and the additional cook time in the oven and then in the microwave to heat it up will make the pasta mushy.

While the pasta is cooking, start the cheese sauce. In a small saucepan, melt the butter at a medium heat. When the butter is fully melted, whisk in the flour, a little bit at a time. Keep whisking as all flour is incorporated. The roux base should be smooth and creamy. Keep whisking for a minute. Slowly pour in the milk and keep whisking. Once all the milk is incorporated, keep the sauce on medium heat and stir frequently for about 10 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. I find it better just to stand there and whisk than risk burnt milk. When the sauce has thickened, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheeses, the black pepper, salt to taste, and the pesto. Don’t be alarmed – the mixture will be a lovely shade of green.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drain the pasta and put it back in its saucepan. Pour the cheese and pesto mixture over the pasta and mix. Divide the pasta evenly amongst four ramekins or four glass Tupperware containers that are oven safe. My glass Tupperware are my go-to for my lunch dishes, as they are microwave safe. In a small bowl, mix together the Panko breadcrumbs, the olive oil and the Asiago or Parmesan cheese. Divide this mixture evenly over the mac and cheese. Bake the mac and cheese for ten minutes at 400 degrees. This warms everything up nicely and starts to melt the cheese and brown the breadcrumbs. Turn the oven to broil and broil for 3 – 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it as the breadcrumbs can overbrown quickly. Once the top is browned to your liking, pull the dishes out of the oven and either serve or cool for storage. I found this recipe to be very freezer-friendly. The breadcrumbs and pesto make the end result a bit grainy, but this doesn’t detract from the taste. Happy lunch-time eating!

mac_and_cheese_at_lunch

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